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Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/131

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CONQUEST 01" MEXICO. 109 from our description. Beside these, Muteczuma gave me a large quantity of his cotton stuff, which, consider- ing it was cotton without silk, could not be equalled in the whole world, either in texture, or in the variety and beauty of the colors, or in the workmanship. It com- prised male and female apparel of remarkable elegance; ornamental hangings for bed-chambers, superior beyond comparison to those made of silk ; together with other fabrics of cotton, as tapestries, designed ibr halls and temples ; counterpanes, composed of feathers interwoven with cotton, and extremely beautiful ; and many other articles, so numerous and ingenious, that I am unable to describe them to your Majesty. He also presented me with a dozen serbatans, used by himself for shooting, made with such admirable skill that they also exceed my power of description.* There were depicted on them a great variety of birds, animals, trees, flowers, and va- rious other objects ; the rims and extremities, of the width of a span, as well as the centre, were inlaid with gold, and curiously carved. To these he added a pouch of gold net-work, intended to contain the pellets or little balls, usually formed of clay, but which he said he would give me of gold ; and also moulds of the same precious metal, for making the pellets ; together with an infinite variety of other things.

  • Serbatans, or cerbottanes, according to Clavigero, are long tubes or pipes,

through which they shoot little balls at birds, &c., by blowing with the moutli. 15